The best cure for loneliness is connecting with another person

Many Finnish people suffer from loneliness, and the coronavirus pandemic has increased the visibility of people’s loneliness. Alko wants to do its part to prevent loneliness in our society. The products on Alko’s shelves are not medicine for loneliness, though; the best cure for loneliness is connecting with another person.

Alko’s products do not help overcome loneliness

The reduction of social contact, increase in remote work and cancellation of public events due to the coronavirus pandemic have all contributed to increasing people’s sense of social isolation and raising the visibility of loneliness. Studies have shown that perceived loneliness exposes people to harmful alcohol use, and we at Alko want to prevent loneliness in our society. The products on Alko’s shelves are not medicine for loneliness.

Loneliness in Finland

Research shows that more than 20 per cent of Finnish people experience loneliness in some point in their life, and four per cent suffer from long-term loneliness (source: Statistics Finland). Anyone, at any age, can experience loneliness. For example, moving to another city, getting a divorce, becoming an empty nester or going on retirement are life situations that may trigger feelings of loneliness.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness is a response to perceived social isolation and seclusion. Loneliness may cause melancholy, anxiety and feelings of shame, as well as physical and psychological nausea.

There are two types of loneliness: social and emotional. Social loneliness stems from the lack of important and meaningful relationships and networks with other people. Emotional loneliness is caused by the person’s perception of not being understood or seen even when they are around family or friends.

We should not confuse loneliness with aloneness. When you choose to be alone, it can be a positive thing and, in a hectic life situation, being alone may even be desired and relaxing.

Where can you find help for loneliness?

We encourage you to seek help for loneliness, even if you feel like curling up in a ball.

MIELI Mental Health Finland has a crisis helpline where you can talk to someone anonymously, and anything you say will be dealt with confidentially. Phone number to the Crisis Helpline is 09 2525 0113. Helpline is open on Mon, Tue at 11–15, Wed at 1316 and 1721, Thu at 1015. Read more about the Crisis Helpline.

Everyone can help

We cannot necessarily identify whether a person is lonely or not. That is why even the smallest encounter matters, and it can be more meaningful to the other person than you realise. Smiling, making eye contact, greeting, or other friendly gestures are all it takes to make a person feel less lonely, because it shows that they have been noticed.

What are good ways to overcome loneliness?
Do things that are important to you

Do things that you like doing, such as spending time outdoors, going to the movies or volunteering for a charity.

Meet other people

Be active in your existing social relationships or get to know new people through your hobbies or the social media.

Speak out

Tell someone that you are lonely. If talking about loneliness feels awkward to you, write down your feelings in a letter or a diary.

Reducing loneliness prevents alcohol-related harms

In cooperation with various partners, Alko aims to reduce loneliness in our society and prevent the alcohol-related harms caused by loneliness. Our main partners are MIELI Mental Health Finland and HelsinkiMissio.